It's now or never for my Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod challenge quilt... two weeks to go! Last year was light on entries and they made a call for more in the last month-- I couldn't possibly make anything that fast! So I decided to make one this year-- the theme was perfect for me. This year they have a whopping 34 entries and I can't wait to see what everyone did.
The challenge theme is "Lucky Stars" and I LOVE stars. Plus, one of the suggested themes was the famous poem "Sea Fever" by John Masefield. John and I go away back-- I had to memorize and recite his poem for a tenth grade speech class. Being the shy teenager I was, it did not go well-- I am still thinking about it 40 years later. But when I saw the poem on the Lucky Stars challenge list, I was AMAZED that I still remembered the entire first verse and much of the rest of it too! Now ask my where my purse or car keys are...
There's a bunch of techniques I wanted to try and this challenge was the perfect vehicle for that. It's a very manageable 25" x 25". First of all, I've really wanted to try English paper piecing. So I decided on clam shells for the waves-- I loved it! The points I was able to create are death defying-- you'd never get them on a sewing machine. I will definitely be English Paper piecing again.
Then I wanted to make a compass star. I love piecing, and I flatter myself I'm good at it. This is something that's been on my bucket list-- again the perfect opportunity to try one. RESULT-- I am cured of my desire to make a whole quilt of these. I did draft it and paper pieced it, which is probably the most precise way of doing it. Points. again, were right on, but fortunately my star didn't have to go all the way around because it would have ended up at about 387.3 degrees. Then I tried twice to embroider the numbers on the edge-- my math must have been off, (I DO know the difference between radius and diameter, people!) it kept coming out way too small. I was getting discouraged and ready to quit the challenge until my daughter gave me a pep talk on how beautiful my star was.... and after all, Sir Edmund Hillary won't need this compass to find the headwaters of the Nile. Once I gave myself permission to be less than perfect it went together quickly. Just ignore that south is a little south'-south'-west as we mariners say.
The last thing I wanted to do was something with turned edge appliqué-- a ship. The ships are always my favorite blocks on Baltimore Album Quilts and I will confess, after seeing "Master and Commander" multiple time, I made it through six or seven of the Aubrey/Maturin books by Patrick O'Brian. I've been practicing with Appliquick tools and they were everything I'd hoped. Plus, a class with Karen Kay Buckley gave me new respect for stitching the edges by machine-- I previously considered this "cheating." Well it's not cheating when you have a deadline! I'm still hoping a good soak in the tub will take out some of the needle marks, though.
The last piece is the border, which of course has the embroidered poem. This is destined for display over my mantle-- I have a model of the US Constitution and I need something behind it. I am so happy with how it is coming out-- and more quickly than I'd dreamed, too.
The piece will finish up with some cute details--a reward for those who look closely. I'm planning little golden dolphins splashing in the waves, and Old Glory flying from the topmast! Then the quilting will be free motion, and this piece is already telling me exactly how it wants to be quilted-- I love when my work gets chatty and I don't mind being told what to do.
The show is in Harwich on Cape Cod on August 3rd-5th-- and, BIG NEWS-- drum roll please, we are doing our first ever booth. So if you are on the Eastern seaboard this summer stop by and say hello. We're testing items that will ultimately find their way--at last-- into brick and mortar shops. It's been a ton of work this summer, but we're excited to grow. There are a tons of artists in this group and the show will not disappoint-- "A New England Album" will be on display. And there will also be a contest to memorize and recite the John Masefield poem in front of a large audience for fat quarters.